After the Charlie Hebdo attack: Critical moment for artistic expression

25 January 2015


In light of the events in France in January 2015, where the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was brutally attacked, numerous articles have been published about artistic expression and arts freedom. Here is a small selection of articles that touch on the issues of artistic freedom of expression.

Walking the tightrope between art and politics

Cressida Brown is artistic director of Offstage Theatre in United Kingdom and the initiator of the theatre event ‘Walking the Tightrope’ which touches on art censorship, cultural boycott, offensive art, and accusations of racism. Index on Censorship asked Brown to explain why she thinks a project exploring how politics and art interact is important and urgent now:

» Index on Censorship – 21 January 2015:
Walking the tightrope between art and politics
By Cressida Brown

A Brief History Of Art Censorship From 1508 To 2014

The Huffington Post revisits some of the most impactful moments in the history of art censorship and attempted censorship, from the 16th century up until the recent events of 2014:

“Throughout history works of art have been altered, silenced and even erased due to unacceptable content, whether the motivations for censorship were religious, social or political. Yet artists have long pushed boundaries of “offensive” through their imagery and content, presenting everything from portraits of a vulva to a performance replicating 19th century ‘human zoos’.”

» The Huffington Post – 16 January 2015:
A Brief History Of Art Censorship From 1508 To 2014
By Priscilla Frank

Hebdo, Hypocrisy and Mendacity

The National Coalition Against Censorship published an article about the double standards and hypocrisies that stood out in the wake of the massacre at the Paris offices of newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The massacre “inspired a robust discussion of free speech, and the difference between government censorship and private self-censorship,” wrote Peter Hart:

“The massive January 10 march in Paris was, among other things, intended as a demonstration of support for free speech and press rights. But some of the most prominent world leaders in attendance – like Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – are better known for suppressing the rights of journalists and trampling on free expression. But one needn’t look just to other countries to note some obvious hypocrisies.”

» The National Coalition Against Censorship – 15 January 2015:
Hebdo, Hypocrisy and Mendacity – #JeSuisCharlie and the Limits of Free Speech
By Peter Hart

» Quintessentialruminations (blog) – 20 January 2015:
Freedom of expression demands prudence

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